Explanation and Understanding

Edited by Finnur Dellsén (University of Iceland, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, University of Oslo)
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  1. The Meta-Explanatory Question.L. R. Franklin-Hall - manuscript
    Philosophical theories of explanation characterize the difference between correct and incorrect explanations. While remaining neutral as to which of these ‘first-order’ theories is right, this paper asks the ‘meta-explanatory’ question: is the difference between correct and incorrect explanation real, i.e., objective or mind-independent? After offering a framework for distinguishing realist from anti-realist views, I sketch three distinct paths to explanatory anti-realism.
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  2. A Problem-Solving Account of Scientific Explanation.Gary Hardcastle - manuscript
    An account of scientific explanation is presented according to which (1) scientific explanation consists in solving “insight” problems (Metcalfe and Wiebe 1984) and (2) understanding is the result of solving such problems. The theory is pragmatic; it draws upon van Fraassen’s (1977, 1980) insights, avoids the objections to pragmatic accounts offered by Kitcher and Salmon (1987), and relates scientific explanation directly to understanding. The theory also accommodates cases of explanatory asymmetry and intuitively legitimate rejections of explanation requests.
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  3. Scientific Progress without Problems: A Reply to McCoy.Finnur Dellsén - forthcoming - In Insa Lawler, Kareem Khalifa & Elay Shech (eds.), Scientific Understanding and Representation: Modeling in the Physical Sciences. Routledge.
    In the course of developing an account of scientific progress, C. D. McCoy (2022) appeals centrally to understanding as well as to problem-solving. On the face of it, McCoy’s account could thus be described as a kind of hybrid of the understanding-based account that I favor (Dellsén 2016, 2021) and the functional (a.k.a. problem-solving) account developed most prominently by Laudan (1977; see also Kuhn 1970; Shan 2019). In this commentary, I offer two possible interpretations of McCoy’s account and explain why (...)
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  4. The nature and norms of scientific explanation: some preliminaries.Abel Peña & Cory Wright - 2024 - Zagadnienia Filozoficzne W Nauce 74:5–17.
    The paper introduces a special issue of the journal Philosophical Problems in Science (ZFN) on the topic of the nature and norms of scientific explanation.
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  5. Realism and the Value of Explanation.Samuel John Andrews - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (4):1305–1314.
    Dasgupta poses a serious challenge to realism about natural properties. He argues that there is no acceptable explanation of why natural properties deserve the value realists assign to them and are consequently absent of value. In response, this paper defines and defends an alternative non-explanatory account of normativity compatible with realism. Unlike Lewis and Sider, who believe it is sufficient to defend realism solely on realist terms, I engage with the challenge on unfriendly grounds by revealing a tu quoque. Dasgupta (...)
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  6. Helping Others to Understand: A Normative Account of the Speech Act of Explanation.Grzegorz Gaszczyk - 2023 - Topoi 42 (2):385-396.
    This paper offers a normative account of the speech act of explanation with understanding as its norm. The previous accounts of the speech act of explanation rely on the factive notion of understanding and maintain that proper explanations require knowledge. I argue, however, that such accounts are too demanding and do not reflect the everyday practice of explanation and the attribution of understanding. Instead, I argue that the non-factive, objectual attitude of understanding is sufficient for a proper explanation. On the (...)
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  7. Epistemic Dependence and Understanding: Reformulating through Symmetry.Josh Hunt - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (4):941-974.
    Science frequently gives us multiple, compatible ways of solving the same problem or formulating the same theory. These compatible formulations change our understanding of the world, despite providing the same explanations. According to what I call "conceptualism," reformulations change our understanding by clarifying the epistemic structure of theories. I illustrate conceptualism by analyzing a typical example of symmetry-based reformulation in chemical physics. This case study poses a problem for "explanationism," the rival thesis that differences in understanding require ontic explanatory differences. (...)
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  8. Against the opacity, and for a qualitative understanding, of artificially intelligent technologies.Mahdi Khalili - 2023 - AI and Ethics.
    This paper aims, first, to argue against using opaque AI technologies in decision making processes, and second to suggest that we need to possess a qualitative form of understanding about them. It first argues that opaque artificially intelligent technologies are suitable for users who remain indifferent to the understanding of decisions made by means of these technologies. According to virtue ethics, this implies that these technologies are not well-suited for those who care about realizing their moral capacity. The paper then (...)
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  9. Form and Content: A Defence of Aesthetic Value in Science.Alice Murphy - 2023 - Philosophy of Science:1-26.
    Those who wish to defend the role of aesthetic values in science face a dilemma: Either aesthetic language is used metaphorically for what are ultimately epistemic features, or aesthetic language is used literally but it is difficult to see the importance of such values in science. I introduce a new account that gets around this problem by looking to an overlooked source of aesthetic value in science: the relation between form and content. I argue that a fit between the content (...)
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  10. Unrealistic Models in Mathematics.William D'Alessandro - 2022 - Philosophers’ Imprint.
    Models are indispensable tools of scientific inquiry, and one of their main uses is to improve our understanding of the phenomena they represent. How do models accomplish this? And what does this tell us about the nature of understanding? While much recent work has aimed at answering these questions, philosophers' focus has been squarely on models in empirical science. I aim to show that pure mathematics also deserves a seat at the table. I begin by presenting two cases: Cramér’s random (...)
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  11. The Noetic Approach: Scientific Progress as Enabling Understanding.Finnur Dellsén - 2022 - In Yafeng Shan (ed.), New Philosophical Perspectives on Scientific Progress. Routledge. pp. 62-81.
    Roughly, the noetic account characterizes scientific progress in terms of increased understanding. This chapter outlines a version of the noetic account according to which scientific progress on some phenomenon consists in making scientific information publicly available so as to enable relevant members of society to increase their understanding of that phenomenon. This version of the noetic account is briefly compared with four rival accounts of scientific progress, viz. the truthlikeness account, the problem-solving account, the new functional account, and the epistemic (...)
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  12. Should friends and frenemies of understanding be friends? Discussing de Regt.Kareem Khalifa - 2022 - In Insa Lawler, Kareem Khalifa & Elay Shech (eds.), Scientific Understanding and Representation: Modeling in the Physical Sciences. London: Routledge.
    In earlier work, I criticized de Regt’s contextual theory of understanding, and advertised the advantages of my own, knowledge-based account. Using the early history of the standard model in particle physics as an illustration, I instead consider the benefits of unifying these two accounts of understanding. I argue that de Regt’s account substantially improves my own account of explanatory consideration, and that my account of explanatory comparison substantially improves upon his account of explanatory evaluation. De Regt and my apparent disagreement (...)
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  13. Integrating Philosophy of Understanding with the Cognitive Sciences.Kareem Khalifa, Farhan Islam, J. P. Gamboa, Daniel Wilkenfeld & Daniel Kostić - 2022 - Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 16.
    We provide two programmatic frameworks for integrating philosophical research on understanding with complementary work in computer science, psychology, and neuroscience. First, philosophical theories of understanding have consequences about how agents should reason if they are to understand that can then be evaluated empirically by their concordance with findings in scientific studies of reasoning. Second, these studies use a multitude of explanations, and a philosophical theory of understanding is well suited to integrating these explanations in illuminating ways.
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  14. Understanding, Psychology, and the Human Sciences: Dilthey and Völkerpsychologie.Lydia Patton - 2022 - In Adam Tamas Tuboly (ed.), The History of Understanding in Analytic Philosophy. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 39-62.
    The framework of the modern Western analysis of culture, in terms of the socio-historical situation of the subject and the reciprocal influence of one on the other, has its roots in nineteenth century discussions. This paper will examine two traditions: the hermeneutic approach of Wilhelm Dilthey, and the Völkerpsychologie of Moses Lazarus and Chajim Steinthal. The account will focus on two elements. First, Lazarus and Steinthal attempted to motivate an account based on collective structures, or forms, of rationality made manifest (...)
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  15. Inductive Risk, Understanding, and Opaque Machine Learning Models.Emily Sullivan - 2022 - Philosophy of Science 89 (5):1065-1074.
    Under what conditions does machine learning (ML) model opacity inhibit the possibility of explaining and understanding phenomena? In this article, I argue that nonepistemic values give shape to the ML opacity problem even if we keep researcher interests fixed. Treating ML models as an instance of doing model-based science to explain and understand phenomena reveals that there is (i) an external opacity problem, where the presence of inductive risk imposes higher standards on externally validating models, and (ii) an internal opacity (...)
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  16. Understanding from Machine Learning Models.Emily Sullivan - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):109-133.
    Simple idealized models seem to provide more understanding than opaque, complex, and hyper-realistic models. However, an increasing number of scientists are going in the opposite direction by utilizing opaque machine learning models to make predictions and draw inferences, suggesting that scientists are opting for models that have less potential for understanding. Are scientists trading understanding for some other epistemic or pragmatic good when they choose a machine learning model? Or are the assumptions behind why minimal models provide understanding misguided? In (...)
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  17. String Theory, Non-Empirical Theory Assessment, and the Context of Pursuit.Frank Cabrera - 2021 - Synthese 198:3671–3699.
    In this paper, I offer an analysis of the radical disagreement over the adequacy of string theory. The prominence of string theory despite its notorious lack of empirical support is sometimes explained as a troubling case of science gone awry, driven largely by sociological mechanisms such as groupthink (e.g. Smolin 2006). Others, such as Dawid (2013), explain the controversy by positing a methodological revolution of sorts, according to which string theorists have quietly turned to nonempirical methods of theory assessment given (...)
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  18. Understanding scientific progress: the noetic account.Finnur Dellsén - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11249-11278.
    What is scientific progress? This paper advances an interpretation of this question, and an account that serves to answer it. Roughly, the question is here understood to concern what type of cognitive change with respect to a topic X constitutes a scientific improvement with respect to X. The answer explored in the paper is that the requisite type of cognitive change occurs when scientific results are made publicly available so as to make it possible for anyone to increase their understanding (...)
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  19. Hempel on Scientific Understanding.Xingming Hu - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 88 (8):164-171.
    Hempel seems to hold the following three views: (H1) Understanding is pragmatic/relativistic: Whether one understands why X happened in terms of Explanation E depends on one's beliefs and cognitive abilities; (H2) Whether a scientific explanation is good, just like whether a mathematical proof is good, is a nonpragmatic and objective issue independent of the beliefs or cognitive abilities of individuals; (H3) The goal of scientific explanation is understanding: A good scientific explanation is the one that provides understanding. Apparently, H1, H2, (...)
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  20. Understanding and Equivalent Reformulations.Josh Hunt - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (5):810-823.
    Reformulating a scientific theory often leads to a significantly different way of understanding the world. Nevertheless, accounts of both theoretical equivalence and scientific understanding have neglected this important aspect of scientific theorizing. This essay provides a positive account of how reformulation changes our understanding. My account simultaneously addresses a serious challenge facing existing accounts of scientific understanding. These accounts have failed to characterize understanding in a way that goes beyond the epistemology of scientific explanation. By focusing on cases in which (...)
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  21. Veritism refuted? Understanding, idealization, and the facts.Tamer Nawar - 2021 - Synthese 198 (5):4295-4313.
    Elgin offers an influential and far-reaching challenge to veritism. She takes scientific understanding to be non-factive and maintains that there are epistemically useful falsehoods that figure ineliminably in scientific understanding and whose falsehood is no epistemic defect. Veritism, she argues, cannot account for these facts. This paper argues that while Elgin rightly draws attention to several features of epistemic practices frequently neglected by veritists, veritists have numerous plausible ways of responding to her arguments. In particular, it is not clear that (...)
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  22. The Truth About Better Understanding?Lewis Ross - 2021 - Erkenntnis 88 (2):747-770.
    The notion of understanding occupies an increasingly prominent place in contemporary epistemology, philosophy of science, and moral theory. A central and ongoing debate about the nature of understanding is how it relates to the truth. In a series of influential contributions, Catherine Elgin has used a variety of familiar motivations for antirealism in philosophy of science to defend a non- factive theory of understanding. Key to her position are: (i) the fact that false theories can contribute to the upwards trajectory (...)
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  23. Understanding, Truth, and Epistemic Goals.Kareem Khalifa - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (5):944-956.
    Several argue that truth cannot be science’s sole epistemic goal, for it would fail to do justice to several scientific practices that advance understanding. I challenge these arguments, but only after making a small concession: science’s sole epistemic goal is not truth as such; rather, its goal is finding true answers to relevant questions. Using examples from the natural and social sciences, I then show that scientific understanding’s epistemically valuable features are either true answers to relevant questions or a means (...)
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  24. Resenha/Book Review: De Regt, H.W. Understanding Scientific Understanding. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. [REVIEW]Luana Poliseli - 2020 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 24 (1):239-245.
    Book Review: De Regt, H. W. Understanding Scientific Understanding. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.
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  25. Idealization and Many Aims.Angela Potochnik - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (5):933-943.
    In this paper, I first outline the view developed in my recent book on the role of idealization in scientific understanding. I discuss how this view leads to the recognition of a number of kinds of variability among scientific representations, including variability introduced by the many different aims of scientific projects. I then argue that the role of idealization in securing understanding distances understanding from truth, but that this understanding nonetheless gives rise to scientific knowledge. This discussion will clarify how (...)
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  26. Is Understanding Reducible?Lewis D. Ross - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (2):117-135.
    Despite playing an important role in epistemology, philosophy of science, and more recently in moral philosophy and aesthetics, the nature of understanding is still much contested. One attractive framework attempts to reduce understanding to other familiar epistemic states. This paper explores and develops a methodology for testing such reductionist theories before offering a counterexample to a recently defended variant on which understanding reduces to what an agent knows.
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  27. Realism and Explanatory Perspectivism.Juha Saatsi - 2020 - In Michela Massimi & Casey D. McCoy (eds.), Understanding Perspectivism (Open Access): Scientific Challenges and Methodological Prospects. New York, NY, USA: Routledge.
    This chapter defends a (minimal) realist conception of progress in scientific understanding in the face of the ubiquitous plurality of perspectives in science. The argument turns on the counterfactual-dependence framework of explanation and understanding, which is illustrated and evidenced with reference to different explanations of the rainbow.
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  28. Unification and the Myth of Purely Reductive Understanding.Michael J. Shaffer - 2020 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 27:142-168.
    In this paper significant challenges are raised with respect to the view that explanation essentially involves unification. These objections are raised specifically with respect to the well-known versions of unificationism developed and defended by Michael Friedman and Philip Kitcher. The objections involve the explanatory regress argument and the concepts of reduction and scientific understanding. Essentially, the contention made here is that these versions of unificationism wrongly assume that reduction secures understanding.
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  29. Radical Scepticism and the Epistemology of Confusion.J. Adam Carter - 2019 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism (3):1-15.
    The lack of knowledge—as Timothy Williamson (2000) famously maintains—is ignorance. Radical sceptical arguments, at least in the tradition of Descartes, threaten universal ignorance. They do so by attempting to establish that we lack any knowledge, even if we can retain other kinds of epistemic standings, like epistemically justified belief. If understanding is a species of knowledge, then radical sceptical arguments threaten to rob us categorically of knowledge and understanding in one fell swoop by implying universal ignorance. If, however, understanding is (...)
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  30. Rational understanding: toward a probabilistic epistemology of acceptability.Finnur Dellsén - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):2475-2494.
    To understand something involves some sort of commitment to a set of propositions comprising an account of the understood phenomenon. Some take this commitment to be a species of belief; others, such as Elgin and I, take it to be a kind of cognitive policy. This paper takes a step back from debates about the nature of understanding and asks when this commitment involved in understanding is epistemically appropriate, or ‘acceptable’ in Elgin’s terminology. In particular, appealing to lessons from the (...)
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  31. Non-factive Understanding: A Statement and Defense.Yannick Doyle, Spencer Egan, Noah Graham & Kareem Khalifa - 2019 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (3):345-365.
    In epistemology and philosophy of science, there has been substantial debate about truth’s relation to understanding. “Non-factivists” hold that radical departures from the truth are not always barriers to understanding; “quasi-factivists” demur. The most discussed example concerns scientists’ use of idealizations in certain derivations of the ideal gas law from statistical mechanics. Yet, these discussions have suffered from confusions about the relevant science, as well as conceptual confusions. Addressing this example, we shall argue that the ideal gas law is best (...)
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  32. A Dialogue on Understanding.C. Mantzavinos - 2019 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 49 (4):307-322.
    This paper written as a dialogue between two interlocutors, Julie and a Student, deals with Understanding and its role in the social sciences. The fictional dialogue takes place in Hannover, Germany, and the interlocutors are exchanging arguments about Verstehen and how it should be conceptualized in the philosophy of the social sciences. A range of different approaches is discussed and a naturalistic strategy emerges as a defensible alternative.
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  33. The Pragmatic Turn in Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI).Andrés Páez - 2019 - Minds and Machines 29 (3):441-459.
    In this paper I argue that the search for explainable models and interpretable decisions in AI must be reformulated in terms of the broader project of offering a pragmatic and naturalistic account of understanding in AI. Intuitively, the purpose of providing an explanation of a model or a decision is to make it understandable to its stakeholders. But without a previous grasp of what it means to say that an agent understands a model or a decision, the explanatory strategies will (...)
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  34. Review of Chrysostomos Mantzavinos's Explanatory Pluralism. [REVIEW]Alexander Beard & Cory Wright - 2018 - Analysis 78 (3):569–572.
    Chrysostomos Mantzavinos (2016), Explanatory Pluralism. Cambridge University Press, xiv + 223 pp. £64.99 cloth.
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  35. Beyond Explanation: Understanding as Dependency Modeling.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (4):1261-1286.
    This paper presents and argues for an account of objectual understanding that aims to do justice to the full range of cases of scientific understanding, including cases in which one does not have an explanation of the understood phenomenon. According to the proposed account, one understands a phenomenon just in case one grasps a sufficiently accurate and comprehensive model of the ways in which it or its features are situated within a network of dependence relations; one’s degree of understanding is (...)
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  36. Understanding, explanation, and intelligibility: Henk de Regt: Understanding scientific understanding. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, xii+301pp, £ 47.99HB. [REVIEW]Insa Lawler - 2018 - Metascience (1):57-60.
    Review of Henk de Regt's "Understanding Scientific Understanding".
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  37. Explanation, understanding, and belief revision.Andrés Páez - 2018 - In Marco Ruffino, Max Freund & Max Fernández de Castro (eds.), Logic and philosophy of logic. Recent trends from Latin America and Spain. London: College Publications. pp. 233-252.
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  38. Eight Other Questions about Explanation.Angela Potochnik - 2018 - In Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi (eds.), Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
    The tremendous philosophical focus on how to characterize explanatory metaphysical dependence has eclipsed a number of other unresolved issued about scientific explanation. The purpose of this paper is taxonomical. I will outline a number of other questions about the nature of explanation and its role in science—eight, to be precise—and argue that each is independent. All of these topics have received some philosophical attention, but none nearly so much as it deserves. Furthermore, existing views on these topics have been obscured (...)
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  39. How Thought Experiments Increase Understanding.Michael T. Stuart - 2018 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. London: Routledge. pp. 526-544.
    We might think that thought experiments are at their most powerful or most interesting when they produce new knowledge. This would be a mistake; thought experiments that seek understanding are just as powerful and interesting, and perhaps even more so. A growing number of epistemologists are emphasizing the importance of understanding for epistemology, arguing that it should supplant knowledge as the central notion. In this chapter, I bring the literature on understanding in epistemology to bear on explicating the different ways (...)
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  40. Can we have mathematical understanding of physical phenomena?Gabriel Târziu - 2018 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 33 (1):91-109.
    Can mathematics contribute to our understanding of physical phenomena? One way to try to answer this question is by getting involved in the recent philosophical dispute about the existence of mathematical explanations of physical phenomena. If there is such a thing, given the relation between explanation and understanding, we can say that there is an affirmative answer to our question. But what if we do not agree that mathematics can play an explanatory role in science? Can we still consider that (...)
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  41. Understanding without Justification or Belief.Finnur Dellsén - 2017 - Ratio 30 (3):239-254.
    In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest among epistemologists in the nature of understanding, with some authors arguing that understanding should replace knowledge as the primary focus of epistemology. But what is understanding? According to what is often called the standard view, understanding is a species of knowledge. Although this view has recently been challenged in various ways, even the critics of the standard view have assumed that understanding requires justification and belief. I argue that it requires (...)
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  42. Varying the Explanatory Span: Scientific Explanation for Computer Simulations.Juan Manuel Durán - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (1):27-45.
    This article aims to develop a new account of scientific explanation for computer simulations. To this end, two questions are answered: what is the explanatory relation for computer simulations? And what kind of epistemic gain should be expected? For several reasons tailored to the benefits and needs of computer simulations, these questions are better answered within the unificationist model of scientific explanation. Unlike previous efforts in the literature, I submit that the explanatory relation is between the simulation model and the (...)
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  43. Explanation and Understanding Revisited.Panu Raatikainen - 2017 - In Niiniluoto Ilkka & Wallgren Thomas (eds.), On the Human Condition: Philosophical Essays in Honour of the Centennial Anniversary of Georg Henrik von Wright. Acta Philosophica Fennica vol 93. The Philosophical Society of Finland. pp. 339-353.
    "Explanation and Understanding" (1971) by Georg Henrik von Wright is a modern classic in analytic hermeneutics, and in the philosophy of the social sciences and humanities in general. In this work, von Wright argues against naturalism, or methodological monism, i.e. the idea that both the natural sciences and the social sciences follow broadly the same general scientific approach and aim to achieve causal explanations. Against this view, von Wright contends that the social sciences are qualitatively different from the natural sciences: (...)
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  44. Scientific progress: Knowledge versus understanding.Finnur Dellsén - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 56 (C):72-83.
    What is scientific progress? On Alexander Bird’s epistemic account of scientific progress, an episode in science is progressive precisely when there is more scientific knowledge at the end of the episode than at the beginning. Using Bird’s epistemic account as a foil, this paper develops an alternative understanding-based account on which an episode in science is progressive precisely when scientists grasp how to correctly explain or predict more aspects of the world at the end of the episode than at the (...)
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  45. Must Understanding Be Coherent?Kareem Khalifa - 2016 - In Stephen Grimm, Christoph Baumberger & Sabine Ammon (eds.), Explaining understanding: new perspectives from epistemology and philosophy of science. London, UK: Routledge. pp. 139-164.
    Several authors suggest that understanding and epistemic coherence are tightly connected. Using an account of understanding that makes no appeal to coherence, I explain away the intuitions that motivate this position. I then show that the leading coherentist epistemologies only place plausible constraints on understanding insofar as they replicate my own account’s requirements. I conclude that understanding is only superficially coherent.
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  46. Understanding and the Norm of Explanation.John Turri - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (4):1171-1175.
    I propose and defend the hypothesis that understanding is the norm of explanation. On this proposal, an explanation should express understanding. I call this the understanding account of explanation. The understanding account is supported by social and introspective observations. It is also supported by the relationship between knowledge and understanding, on the one hand, and assertion and explanation, on the other.
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  47. Jaspers on explaining and understanding in psychiatry.Christoph Hoerl - 2013 - In Thomas Fuchs & Giovanni Stanghellini (eds.), One Hundred Years of Karl Jaspers' General Psychopathology. Oxford University Press. pp. 107-120.
    This chapter offers an interpretation of Jaspers’ distinction between explaining and understanding, which relates this distinction to that between general and singular causal claims. Put briefly, I suggest that when Jaspers talks about (mere) explanation, what he has in mind are general causal claims linking types of events. Understanding, by contrast, is concerned with singular causation in the psychological domain. Furthermore, I also suggest that Jaspers thinks that only understanding makes manifest what causation between one element of a person’s mental (...)
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  48. Explanation and Understanding: An Alternative to Strevens’ D epth.Angela Potochnik - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (1):29-38.
    Michael Strevens offers an account of causal explanation according to which explanatory practice is shaped by counterbalanced commitments to representing causal influence and abstracting away from overly specific details. In this paper, I challenge a key feature of that account. I argue that what Strevens calls explanatory frameworks figure prominently in explanatory practice because they actually improve explanations. This suggestion is simple but has far-reaching implications. It affects the status of explanations that cite multiply realizable properties; changes the explanatory role (...)
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  49. Henk W. De Regt, Sabina Leonelli and Kai Eigner , Scientific Understanding: Philosophical Perspectives. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009. Pp. ix+352. ISBN 978-0-8229-4378-6. $65.00. [REVIEW]Jacob Stegenga - 2011 - British Journal for the History of Science 44 (4):578-580.
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  50. Psychiatric explanation and understanding.Tim Thornton - 2010 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 6 (1):95-111.
    Jaspers’s binary distinction between understanding and explanation has given way first to a proliferation of explanatory levels and now, in John Campbell’s recent work, to a conception of explanation with no distinct levels of explanation and no inbuilt rationality requirement. I argue that there is still a role for understanding in psychiatry and that is to demystify the assumption that the states it concerns are mental. This role can be fulfilled by placing rationality at the heart of understanding without a (...)
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